2019: We have no preferred candidate, political party in Nigeria’s presidential election – EU
…We won’t interfere in INEC’s duties – Amaechi
The European Union (EU) on Thursday said it has no preferred candidate in next year’s election.
EU Delegation Head Amb. Ketil Karlsen gave the assurance at an audience with Buhari Campaign Organisation Director-General Rotimi Amaechi.
Amaechi told the EU that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would adhere strictly to the electoral laws in the general elections.
He also said President Muhammadu Buhari will accept the outcome of the elections.
Amaechi said: “One assurance I will give you today is that we’ll stand by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and we will stand by whatever decision they make. We believe that we promised Nigerians change and I also believe that you can observe the change.
“By this time in 2014/2015, when I was still in office as governor, I was on fire. Everybody was on my neck. The then President had withdrawn my security. My ADC and CSO were on the run; there was no police security and nobody cared. They didn’t bother that I could be killed or attacked.
“I was attacked several times. I was attacked in Port Harcourt. But now, we believe the President that they were accusing that would be undemocratic because he is a retired soldier is more democratic than a civilian that was elected in the past.
“During the Anambra State election, when the governor cried out that his ADC had been withdrawn, President Buhari ordered that the governor’s ADC be reinstated immediately. So you see, that is the change we are talking about.
“So the assurance I will give you from President Buhari Campaign Organisation is that there will be no interference by the President.
“ We’ll play by the rules and whatever the campaign team needs to do to ensure that the election is transparent, we will do.
“ We’ll also ensure that the election is such that Nigerians will be proud of, and we hope that the rest who are contesting in other parties will also take the same position.”
Amb. Karlsen, Head of the European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the EU would partner with Nigerians to organise credible polls in 2019.
He said the EU, was only concerned about the best electoral practices for Nigeria.
“For the EU, we really do not have any preferred candidate; we don’t have any preferred political party; we don’t promote any particular ideology in Nigeria.
“We are very concerned about having the best possible process in the country. We want to see free, fair, credible and peaceful election. So this is why we have invested not only our time but also a lot of European tax payers’ money on engaging with all the Nigerian stakeholders since 1999.
“We have spent more than E100m(Euro) in giving support for electoral process. So, currently, we support INEC, we support the National Assembly, we support intra-party democracy and we support all stakeholders.
“We had also engaged actively in the party primaries and this gives us reason about the optimism of INEC to conduct elections.”